The Orion is the student newspaper of California State University, Chico and produces 32 issues every year, 16 each semester. Its offices are in the basement of Plumas Hall on the Chico State campus. It has won numerous state and national awards, including several National Pacemakers. Its name is taken from the constellation Orion, as the newspaper is meant to be a "hunter of truth."
Crime is an interest for many people, even those outside the forensic lab. A list of suspects close to the victim, investigation flub-ups and a murder case gone cold spark intrigue into the hearts of many. “Casting JonBenet,” the newest documentary on Netflix, has all of this and more.
For those unfamiliar with the case, on Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in her Boulder, Colorado home. The 6-year-old pageant princess’ murder stayed in the public’s eye for over 20 years because no one was ever charged for the crime.
In “Casting JonBenet,” actors are auditioning for the roles of JonBenet, her mother Patsy, her father John and others. These actors are locals to the Boulder area, and recount where they were when the news of the murder broke and their theories about who killed JonBenet and why.
“Casting JonBenet” is not your ordinary documentary. In between interviews with the actors, we see reenactments of the aftermath of the murder. However, in the 20 years since JonBenet’s death, the story has been told over and over. Having the story told from the perspective of local actors trying to get into the minds of the people who lived this nightmare is refreshing, especially for those invested in the case.
The downside to “Casting JonBenet” is it assumes the viewer already knows the case fairly well. For those newly into true crime, researching into what happened and the surrounding investigation might be needed to keep up.
I give this documentary four stars.
Adrianna McCain can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @theorion_arts on Twitter.